Alcoholism in the Family
We have known for a long time now that alcoholism runs in families. Children of alcoholics are four times more likely to develop alcohol use disorder and become alcoholics themselves.
You may find yourself wondering:
Will I become an alcoholic because my parents were?
Your fate isn’t sealed yet, but let’s look at what is known about the genetics and family factors of alcohol use disorder.
Genetics of Alcoholism
Research suggests that about half the risk for alcoholism is due to genes. There has been a specific gene observed in families that contain multiple cases of alcoholism.
Pretty wild, huh?
The gene discovered is related to GABA, a neurotransmitter activated by alcohol that creates a sedative effect. This might support hypotheses that people who experience excess overstimulation in the brain are prone to alcoholism.
Still, it is impossible to say whether any gene is a direct cause of alcoholism. Even if someone has genetic inclination, the associated genes may never be activated and so no problem ever arises.
Other Risk Factors of Alcoholism
Genes and family experience contribute to the biological and social aspects of risk for alcoholism. Other experiential, psychological, and environmental factors contribute to this risk, though.
Even in the family, risk varies. It is higher if the alcoholic parent has psychological problems, both parents abuse substances, or the alcohol abuse causes aggressive conflict in the family.
Be Careful with Drinking
You are not doomed to a life of addiction just because of your parents’ alcohol abuse, but be cautious.
Even with the highest genetic disposition for alcoholism, you won’t be an alcoholic if you never drink. If you are concerned that you or a loved one does have a problem, speak to a professional about it. You can call (877)670-8451 to discuss treatment and solutions to alcoholism.